You know that cliche where the struggling writer crumples up their work, tosses it into the trash, and starts again? That’s the Roccat Kain 120, a new competitor for the best gaming mouse crown. Almost every part of this wired mouse has been built from the ground up, and the German manufacturer is obviously proud of it—Roccat even goes so far as to call the Kain 120 its masterpiece. It’s not hard to see why. Weighing in at 89 grams and packing a 16,000 CPI Owl-Eye sensor, this is the fastest wired mouse the company has produced. But it’s also a dangerous proposition. You see, it abandons that iconic Roccat shape for something a little different.
Instead of the right-leaning curve Roccat is famous for, the Kain 120 opts for something more symmetrical instead. Your response to this will vary depending on what you thought about those old pointers, but I was a fan of the change. The Kone range always felt odd to me, and it was as if you were using a left-handed mouse by mistake. Meanwhile, the Kain 120 feels much more natural.
It’s more luxurious, too. With a strip of brushed aluminium running down the middle and a smooth rubber finish that’s pleasant to the touch, the 120 is an ergonomic home run that echoes the Roccat Vulcan keyboard. When combined with your usual RGB pizazz, this is a stylish bit of kit. In fact, I’d say it's Roccat’s most handsome mouse yet.
But how does it handle? In a word, ‘well’. Powered by Roccat’s new Titan Click technology, it’s further aided by an algorithm that boosts signal processing to register button presses “up to 16ms faster”. Although that wasn’t particularly noticeable in action, the 120 didn’t let me down anywhere else. This version of the Kain’s buttons are well-positioned and easy to reach. Its click action strikes a good balance between speed and firmness. The ridged scroll wheel is precise and boasts a satisfying click of its own (a quality shared by the CPI button despite its spongy appearance). Basically, it’s reliable and effective.
The Kain 120 isn’t completely without fault, though. Pleasant though it may be, that rubber shell is a little slippery. Don’t get me wrong—it remained rock-steady underhand in the fiercest of FPS firefights. All the same, I worry about how it’d fare with sweatier palms. Additionally, it didn’t feel as secure as I’d like for general computing. This is a small complaint, but it’s one that niggled at me for the entirety of testing. The textured side-grip featured on the cheaper Kain 100 is missed here; it’d push the 120 from 'good' to 'great'.
However, that’s a small criticism to lay at the door of a broadly-excellent mouse. It looks fantastic, it feels brilliant, and performs well thanks to that nippy 16,000 CPI sensor. With a price-point of $69 / £63, you can’t go far wrong. Is it a masterpiece? No, but we’re not far off.
The Roccat Kain 120 will be available in early September, with a wireless version—the Kain 200—in November for $100.